Rae Carson was born in Oakland, California. As a child, her family moved a lot and she attended nine different schools as a result. Rae found if difficult to face making new friends each time, but in high school she challenged herself by trying out for the cheerleading squad. While not particularly co-ordinated, she made the team and found it immensely character building; she learnt how to be part of a team, entertain people, and overcome her fears.
Rae enjoyed college much more, graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in Social Science. She then undertook many different jobs, including bank tellering, secretarial work and substitue teaching. Unhappy in all these jobs, in 2004 she decided to do what she really wanted to do: write full-time.
While persuing her writing career, Rae meet her husband, author C.C. Finlay, and moved to Columbus where she lives with him and her two stepsons. She loves writing young adult movels that tend to contain "lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices". [Source]
Q. The character Elisa felt so real to me. At the start of the book, it was painful to hear her talk about herself, but that’s what made me relate to her. What was it like to write such a character?
A. I was a teenage girl once. I was not an overweight teenage girl, but I had really bad acne when I was 11 or 12 years old. It was heart-rending and people made fun of me. People whispered when I walked by in the hallways and I was sure they were whispering about me. My adult perspective is maybe they weren’t. But at the time it feels like the whole world is looking at your flaw. I have spent a lot of time with teenage girls and I also think we have selective retrospectives. We like to think we were more confident than maybe we were, but my experience with teenage girls is that when they’re in the moment, they all struggle. There are so many unfair standards by which we are told to hold ourselves up to from a very early age. So, I really wanted to capture the agony of coming into yourself. And I have to say, writing it was painful. It’s not a pleasant headspace to be in.